Cary Blake

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake travelled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in Arizona and California. He also covers New Mexico and West Texas agriculture for Southwest Farm Press.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

Mundschenk is new Arizona state veterinarian

Peter Mundschenk has been promoted to Arizona’s state veterinarian by Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) Director Mark Killian.

Mundschenk previously served as the acting state veterinarian, replacing Perry Durham who left ADA last year.

As the state vet, Mundschenk is responsible for the prevention and tracking of animal diseases; many of which are a threat to public health through the food system and spreading through other close contact or vectors including mosquitoes and flies. 

UC releases orchardgrass hay cost study for Intermountain region

The University of California (UC) Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) has compiled the costs and returns of establishing an orchardgrass stand and producing the hay crop in the Intermountain Region of the Golden State, including Shasta, Lassen, and Siskiyou counties.

UA alumna Maria Andrade is World Food Prize laureate

One of the four recipients of the 2016 World Food Prize is plant scientist Maria Andrade, a University of Arizona (UA) alumna whose research led to the introduction of nine drought-tolerant varieties of sweet potato for farmers in Mozambique.

At the UA, Andrade studied agronomy and plant genetics, and graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began breeding research with the orange-fleshed sweet potato in 1997 in drought-prone areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

California farm leader Mark Watte loses bout with cancer 1

Mark Christopher Watte, a proud and dedicated California farmer, plus state and national farm leader who stood tall for the industry on drought and other issues, passed away June 17, 2016 after a bout with cancer.

Watte operated his family farm called George Watte & Sons (George was Mark’s father). Mark grew cotton, alfalfa, triticale and corn for silage, black-eyed peas, pistachios, plus operated a 1,000 Jersey-cow dairy at Tulare.

Gallery: Macadamia nut farming at Island Harvest Inc.

The Trump family, including Jim and Debbie and their sons Chris and Nathan, farm macadamia nuts near Kapaau on the northernmost coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. This year, the Trumps are celebrating their 25th year in the macadamia business.

Western Farm Press visited the Trumps and their island farm. You can read all about their operation, the challenges, and the opportunities ahead by clicking on this link -

Enjoy these photos of the Trump's 700 acre operation.

Moving macadamia nut production to the next level 1

Crashing ocean waves are quickly stilled as they hit the majestic tall rock cliffs protruding like a mountain fortress on the coastline near the community of Kapaau at the northernmost tip of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Just a few miles down the coast line is an amazing 700-acre farm which many decades ago was a sugarcane plantation. In the 1980s, the cane yielded way to plantings of macadamia trees for nuts. Farming the macadamia operation today is the Jim Trump family and their Island Harvest Inc. farm which started in 1991.   

Gallery: Who's Who at the Desert Ag Conference

The Annual Desert Ag Conference is a homecoming of sorts for Arizona pest control advisors, crop consultants, growers, and many others involved in desert agriculture in the Grand Canyon State.

About 230 folks gathered for this year's event which covered a wide array of topics, including the slow and expensive route to bring a pesticide to market, discussed by research scientist Jesse Richardson of Dow AgroSciences.


‘Discovery to launch’ – the slow road to bring pesticides to market 2

Farmers often wonder why pesticides are expensive and why it takes so long to bring crop protection products to market.

The answer largely lies in the high costs associated with the discovery of a new pesticide active ingredient and the lengthy process to bring it to market. Also, chemical companies spend huge amounts of time and money to produce mountains of data to meet federal and state government requirements to achieve pesticide registration.

Jason Auxier tapped as SLHWA ‘Volunteer of the Year’

Jason Auxier, marketing coordinator with Morgan Winery, has been honored with the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award from the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans (SLHWA).

The award was recently presented to Auxier at the 2016 SLH Gala celebration. The SLHWA is an alliance of the appellation’s winegrowers and wineries.

Food safety panel: LGMA guidelines scientifically sound

A panel of food safety experts conducting an independent review of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement’s food safety Guidelines basically calls the current production practices scientifically sound, current, and in some cases more stringent than existing federal guidelines.

Photos: A better way to irrigate cotton in Arizona?

Kevin Bronson and Kelly Thorp of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Maricop, Ariz. are in the third year of field tests to determine if the there is a better way to irrigate cotton in the Grand Canyon State other than traditionally flooding fields.

Two separate field studies at the Maricopa Agricultural Center are testing two methods: an overhead sprinkler system guided by precision agriculture tools to place water only where needed and only how much is really needed in the field; and buried drip - a.k.a. subsurface drip irrigation.

ARS targets next generation Arizona cotton irrigation

Water for agricultural irrigation is the most precious natural resource in western agriculture. Due to ever tightening water supplies, more attention is being focused on shifting from flood-irrigated cotton to more efficient systems which could include sprinkler and buried drip systems.

This could happen sooner rather than later.

NASS predicts 2 billion-pound California almond crop

The California almond industry might rejoin its ‘2 Billion Pound Club.’

The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) initial subjective forecast for 2016 California almond production is pegged at 2.0 billion pounds; about 5.8 percent above last year's 1.89 billion pound crop.

NASS believes almond yields this year could average 2,200 pounds per acre; a 4.7 percent increase from last year’s 2,120 pounds per acre.

The government agency’s forecasted 2016 bearing acreage is 900,000.

Pecan growers give marketing order thumbs up

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) says pecan growers have voted to establish a federal marketing order for pecans grown in 15 states.

Seventy-seven percent 77 percent of the producers voting in a referendum - representing 88 percent of the volume - supported the marketing order. Voting was conducted March 9-30, 2016.

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